Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Fostoria “American”...or is it?

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Fostoria’s American pattern must be the most “flattered” glass pattern of the 20th century. Imitators that are most frequently misidentified as American are the Whitehall pattern produced by Indiana Glass, and the Cube pattern produced by Jeannette Glass. Both have a similar cube-like motif like American, but the similarity ends there.

Determining whether or not a piece of glass is actually American is not as difficult as you might think. Here are a few things to look for in a true piece of Fostoria American:

Mold lines – Most American pieces will have been produced in a three-part mold, which results in three mold lines (or seams) running down the length of the piece, not two mold lines as you will see in the imitators.

Color – If the color of your piece is anything but clear,  Whitehall candy box it is probably Whitehall, not American. Very few pieces of American were produced in colors compared to the masses that were produced in clear.

Glass Quality – Glass produced by Fostoria was good quality and highly polished, resulting is a silky smooth crystal clear product that sparkles. The imitators are not as clear and don’t have the same silky feel to the touch.

Feet – The footed pieces of American have a American tapered foot shaped, tapered foot, unlike the straight-sided peg-leg feet seen in the imitators.

HandlesAmerican pitchers and jugs have handles that connect at the top of the piece, not an inch below the top.

BaseAmerican plates and bowls will have a ground base; the imitators will not.

ShapeAmerican goblets and tumblers will have a curved shape and a flare to P4200001the rim, unlike the straight shape and rim of the imitators.

The best way to learn to tell the difference is to actually handle a variety of pieces of both American and its imitators. It won't be long before you'll be able to spot an imitation from across the room!

 Pam siggie 2


  1. My grandmother had Whitehall glasses like these. When I was little I hated those glasses. NOW, what I would give to have those. If I remember correctly I think they were blue. I don't know if she sold them or what. There were tons of them for family gatherings.

  2. Lisa - If you keep checking at antique malls and thrift shops, I'll be you'll find some of those glasses. In fact, I think I have some in amber at my shop.

    My mom has some of the clear Whitehall tumblers in her cabinet. She had seen some of the American tumblers at my shop and asked if they were the same as hers. Sorry, Mom, but they aren't! LOL


  3. PJ I have a cabinet full of my grannys Fostoria, wish you could see it!! I have two sizes of goblets, two sizes of plates, lots of serving pieces and bowls and pitchers and cake stands. She was in a garden and bridge club and was always entertaining and always set a beautiful table. We use it some on holidays especially the serving pieces. From your picures the Whitehall looks the closest to what it looks like. I have a cousin that would love to have it all, but she is on the other side of the family!! Lucky me!!

    Your blog is always full of such interesting lessons!!
    Thanks for a job well done!!


  4. Dana -

    Thanks for sharing a picture with me of your grandmother's glassware. Yes, you have Fostoria American, you lucky girl! Tell your cousin to eat her heart out! LOL


  5. PJ- I have boxes of glassware like this in the basement. It was Tom's moms and I don't have room to keep it out. I am pretty sure it was originally Tom's grandmothers. Now I want to go digging and see what it is! You are so good at giving us quick lessons. Keep up the good work!

  6. Thank you for the information on identifying American Fostoria. I've also read that another test is to put your Fostoria under a black light. True Fostoria will have a yellow glow. I've tried it with my Fostoria that I know is real, and with a knock off piece. The knock off does not have a color.

  7. Our book Fostoria American a Complete Guide by Sidney P. Seligson features photos of all known pieces of Fostoria American as well as photos of look-a-like patterns such as Jeannette Cubist and Indiana Glass Whitehall. But, I agree with Pam. Once you've handled both types of glass, it won't be hard to spot the real thing.


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